So I got a new laptop

Because the old one kept overheating and dying.

TODO: notes about new laptop (and what I did on the old one)
Could not remove all the screws from the case to check interior -- two are stuck.
USed a head monitor -- which shows all the sudden shutdown were when temps got out of control.
Could not predict what would push it over the edge, however.

Touchpad issues

So easy to brush, it kept stealing focus when I typed. Because it's so much bigger? Because I should have everything at an angle? DUNNO.

But this helped me fixe it:

Surprised nobody mentioned this in the thread. Even in Windows 7 this is available under the Mouse icon in Control panel. Windows will automatically disable the touch pad if you connect a USB mouse to the system if you configure it to. No need for a hotkey.

    Click WINDOWS+R Keys at the same time.  (or right click on the windows icon on the taskbar and click Run.
    Type main.cpl and press enter
    The mouse menu will come up.
    Click on the ClickPad Settings tab
    Place a check in Disable internal pointing device when external USB pointing device is attached.
    Click OK.

Once this is done anytime you plug a mouse in the touchpad will be disabled automatically.